For the last eight years representatives of the Massac County Drug Awareness Coalition have visited area schools in October to celebrate Red Ribbon Week.

While this year’s celebration will be a little different, its message will be the same.

“This year may look a little different due to the pandemic, but we will still attempt to provide drug prevention messages throughout the week,” said MCDAC program director Holly Windhorst.

The goal of Massac County Drug Awareness Coalition (MCDAC) is to provide leadership, education and resources to build and sustain a community of knowledgeable citizens — youth particularly — who make healthy and safe choices through the reduction of substance abuse.

“MCDAC focuses on prevention because we want to stop drug addiction before it starts,” Windhorst said. “Red Ribbon Week is just one of many prevention efforts taken on by MCDAC.”

This is MCDAC’s ninth year of bringing Red Ribbon Week to schools in Massac County. This year’s observance will be Oct. 26-30, with “Wear Red” Day being Tuesday, Oct. 27.

“As in the past, MCDAC will be able to provide teacher kits to all elementary school teachers with a message and an item with a drug-free message for each day of the week,” Windhorst said. “The only thing that will be different this year is that we will not be able to coordinate speakers on substance abuse prevention for the high school and junior high youth, as we have in the past.”

Due to those COVID visiting restrictions, “keep an eye on our social media accounts — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — for prevention messages throughout the week,” Windhorst said.

The 2020 Red Ribbon Week theme is: “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug-Free.”

“I think this year’s theme is a great message for kids in response to current events,” Windhorst said. “Youth are facing something that none of us have experienced. Making the best of it by choosing to find happiness and courage in the face of the unknown, while refraining from substance use, is a good message for everyone, not just youth.”

Windhorst noted MCDAC is always looking for volunteers.

“The best way to start is to attend a meeting,” she said.

MCDAC meets the third Wednesday of the month at 8 a.m. Meetings are open to the public. October’s meeting will be in-person at Metropolis City Hall with a Zoom option for those who want to meet virtually. For more information about meetings or becoming a volunteer, contact Windhorst at 618- 316-4472 or massacdrug awareness@gmail.com.

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